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Medical School or Nursing School?

Nurses   (821 Views | 12 Replies)
by CookiesOrCreme CookiesOrCreme (New) New

233 Profile Views; 7 Posts

Hello everyone, I know that there are an incredible amount of topics posted about this already, but I wanted to get your opinions about going for medical school or nursing school. This might be long, I apologize!

I am graduating this semester with a BS in Pharmacology and Toxicology. I entered college thinking I wanted to work in a pharmaceutical research lab but found out I absolutely hated working with just theoreticals. I really enjoyed courses such as psychology, physiology, and pathophysiology, which led me to consider nursing or medicine.

Since most of my courses for my degree crossed with the prereqs for nursing programs, I was able to get accepted into an Accelerated BSN that will finish next August. As for medical school stats, I graduated in 3 years with a 4.0 working part time as a peer mentor and as a home health aide, but I have no volunteer experience.

I really enjoy my home health job because I can work one on one with the clients and they are usually fairly independent. I once picked up a caregiver shift at a memory care center my company contracts with and it stressed me out very much.

If I had to narrow down my concerns, it would come down to family time and cost. Both of which medical school seems to take away. Becoming an RN seems like it would be very flexible for raising children while medicine is very rigid (for example, the ability to work part time vs 80 hours in residency). The return on investment would be alot more for an NP than an MD working in primary care. It seems to me that nursing would be the logical choice to fit what I want out of life, but being completely honest, and direct patient care really freaks me out, which always seems to lead me back to contemplating medicine. I think I would like to be an FNP, but I dont want to bulldozer through school, as I see value in obtaining RN experince.

As a new grad RN, would there be any place where I could work in a one on one environment? Was anyone scared of direct patient care and was able to become more comfortable with it during nursing school? Would it be better for me to just accept the high cost and high time commitment of medical school to seek out the environment I want to practice in? Has the push for the DNP and decreasing wages made becoming an NP unaffordable?

Thank you for taking time to read this!

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OUxPhys has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiology.

881 Posts; 9,953 Profile Views

If you want one on one then the best bet is to work as a RN in an ICU, then go to grad school for CRNA (since you also have one pt as a CRNA). DNP is only worth it if you want to teach or become a high level nurse administrator.

It really comes down to what you want to do. NP and MD, while they seem similar in some ways, still come from two completely different backgrounds. Med school and residency is rough and that doesn't include a fellowship (if you want to specialize in something). You also aren't making much money during this time and when you finally do get out on your own you have six figure debt.

So, it ultimately comes down to what you want to do.

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FolksBtrippin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

3 Followers; 1,753 Posts; 15,350 Profile Views

It sounds to me like you would prefer the nurse route.

I work mostly one on one doing community psych. Home health is also one on one and tends to be a lot of teaching.

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umbdude has 3 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Psych/Mental Health.

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A few things to think about:

1) The FNP (and NP in general) job market is becoming very saturated and getting worse every year because of all the diploma mills and subpar programs out there. If you choose FNP, be sure that you're willing to move and accept low pay in the beginning. There's also a downward pressure on salaries. I don't see how, if you're in your early-to-mid 20s, FNP would provide a greater ROI than MDs in the long run. Medical residents do get paid and there should be Scholarships and/or loan forgiveness if you choose family medicine. Furthermore, many states have restrictive (or downright terrible) practice environments for NPs. You won't have that problem as a MD.

2) I've seen med students and residents with kids. It's hard but doable with a supportive spouse.

3) I'm not sure what part of "direct patient care" you're freaked out about. If you mean poop, vomit, and blood...those are pretty hard to avoid as a bedside RN. If your goal is FNP, you can go direct-entry and bypass bedside RN all together, but you still have to do a bit of that during nursing school. Because you have a great background in pharm, I honestly don't think you need any bedside RN experience. Just go right to FNP and get it done. But again, finding a job as a new FNP is very hard these days and not having RN experience will make it even harder.

4) DNP is not required. The "push" is primarily coming from academia, not from practicing clinicians. I recommend waiting until you're actually working as an NP to get a DNP because there are tons of online DNP programs out there and you can work full time as an NP while getting a DNP.

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On 4/4/2020 at 6:53 AM, FolksBtrippin said:

It sounds to me like you would prefer the nurse route.

I work mostly one on one doing community psych. Home health is also one on one and tends to be a lot of teaching

Is home health something that you can do as a new grad? I work as a home health aide now and I really enjoy it

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On 4/4/2020 at 8:48 AM, umbdude said:

A few things to think about:

1) The FNP (and NP in general) job market is becoming very saturated and getting worse every year because of all the diploma mills and subpar programs out there. If you choose FNP, be sure that you're willing to move and accept low pay in the beginning. There's also a downward pressure on salaries. I don't see how, if you're in your early-to-mid 20s, FNP would provide a greater ROI than MDs in the long run. Medical residents do get paid and there should be Scholarships and/or loan forgiveness if you choose family medicine. Furthermore, many states have restrictive (or downright terrible) practice environments for NPs. You won't have that problem as a MD.

2) I've seen med students and residents with kids. It's hard but doable with a supportive spouse.

3) I'm not sure what part of "direct patient care" you're freaked out about. If you mean poop, vomit, and blood...those are pretty hard to avoid as a bedside RN. If your goal is FNP, you can go direct-entry and bypass bedside RN all together, but you still have to do a bit of that during nursing school. Because you have a great background in pharm, I honestly don't think you need any bedside RN experience. Just go right to FNP and get it done. But again, finding a job as a new FNP is very hard these days and not having RN experience will make it even harder.

4) DNP is not required. The "push" is primarily coming from academia, not from practicing clinicians. I recommend waiting until you're actually working as an NP to get a DNP because there are tons of online DNP programs out there and you can work full time as an NP while getting a DNP.

I've heard that the market is saturated and that is driving down wages, which is something I have thought about. On the other hand, the local newspaper seems to run an article almost every other week on a shortage of physicians in my town.

As for what freaks me out most about direct patient care, its not so much the body fluids, its more of I'm scared of hurting the patients. It makes me very uneasy and nervous when I have to change a patient or turn a patient and they scream and cry. Of course, this mainly happened to me during my CNA clinicals where the residents had several contractures and bedsores, but since working as a home health aide, the clients have been fairly independent and I haven't experienced that since.

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3 hours ago, CookiesOrCreme said:

Is home health something that you can do as a new grad? I work as a home health aide now and I really enjoy it

Home health is certainly an option but not recommended for new grads. If you can deal with a year at the bedside you will be in a much better place to consider home health. The year will fly by.

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FolksBtrippin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

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4 hours ago, CookiesOrCreme said:

Is home health something that you can do as a new grad? I work as a home health aide now and I really enjoy it

Yes, where I live home health is an option for new grads.

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11 Posts; 134 Profile Views

I am assuming you are young. If I could do life over again I would have gone med school.

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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It sounds to me like your best fit would be a PA program. You would have a role similar to an NP, but without having to become a nurse first.

Why have you not considered being a PA (Physician's Assistant) on the list of possibilities?

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On 4/6/2020 at 12:39 PM, llg said:

It sounds to me like your best fit would be a PA program. You would have a role similar to an NP, but without having to become a nurse first.

Why have you not considered being a PA (Physician's Assistant) on the list of possibilities?

I have thought of this as well. However, I would prefer to stay in my home state, and while there are programs here. There is limited job availability with the majority of PAs working in surgery, which isn't really an area of interest for me. I've talked to a few family friends who are physicians and most say that they would prefer NPs over PAs. The exception seems to be surgeons, who prefer PAs unless the NP has their first assist.

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WestCoastSunRN has 24 years experience as a MSN and specializes in CVICU, MICU, Burn ICU.

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On 4/6/2020 at 12:12 AM, CookiesOrCreme said:

As for what freaks me out most about direct patient care, its not so much the body fluids, its more of I'm scared of hurting the patients. It makes me very uneasy and nervous when I have to change a patient or turn a patient and they scream and cry. Of course, this mainly happened to me during my CNA clinicals where the residents had several contractures and bedsores, but since working as a home health aide, the clients have been fairly independent and I haven't experienced that since.

Hmmm. I'm going to argue that I think the fear you mention above is something you need to work through regardless of what role you are in. Skilled, well-rounded clinicians (RNs, MDs, NPs, PAs,) know how to move patients and read physiologic and psychologic cues to assess pain with cares/mobility. Unless you are in a purely consultative role or outpatient mental health or allergy clinic or somewhere where you don't need to have this skill (in which case you won't need it until you do), you need to be comfortable with comprehensive pain management across populations - and that necessarily entails understanding how nursing cares/mobility/ADLs impact pain and quality of life (for which there is no greater teacher than experience).

This isn't even a granular issue - it's basic. I understand you are saying you experience 'fear' - but that fear is likely born out of what you do not know.

Now, if what is really at play is that you don't like touching patients or caring for patients dependent on nursing care - then you may want to reconsider any of these roles. Holistic care is not just the battle cry of nursing - medical disciplines are responsible for providing it as well.

Edited by WestCoastSunRN

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